Sometimes We Forget…

Sometimes we forget. We forget to take joy in the little things, we forget to take joy in the big things, simply put, we forget to take joy! I am as guilty of this as anyone else and as of late, I am extremely guilty of this. Let me explain in finer detail;

This morning I found myself in a particularly foul mood. Why? I’m not 100% sure but, I am sure that is is the result of a combination of things, not just one thing in particular. I am quite tired. So tired in fact that I could not even find the energy to get together with an old friend and play music last night. I feel as if I am being pulled in every direction when it comes to running the coffee shop and roastery to the point that I am having a very hard time focusing on the tasks I feel I need to be doing. I have not yet been able to get down to the roastery this week without some sort of prior interruption that requires my immediate attention and being a person who finds comfort in a routine, this messes with my head quite a bit. All of this ends up with me being overly frustrated and mad as hell at everyone and everything around me when in all honesty, it is not their fault.

So what do I do? I get down to the roastery this morning (after a scheduled 2 hour delay for the school and a quick coffee bean delivery) and I brew a cup of coffee which, to be honest, I can’t even remember what bean these are, I left them out on the counter last night and it completely escapes me what they were. I sit back in my big comfy chair and I close my eyes. I do my very best to not think about anything but the cup in my hands and the taste of the coffee. And at first, it does not work, my mind makes a beeline for my to-do list today and all of the things that annoyed me this morning. After a few more attempts, I lose myself in the sweet sounds of the renovations going on in the room above me and the warmth and flavor notes of the coffee I am sipping. After a few moments of this I start to make a mental list. As cheesy as it may sound, I make a mental slide show of thoughts of all of the things I should be happy about. A stepson who isn’t a complete nightmare, in fact, he’s pretty damn ok most days. My wife who is doing her best to not only run a cafe but also take care of our household which I have not been around as much as I would like to be as of late or as helpful as I should be. Our 4 month old baby girl who even when her grandma can’t pull a smile out of, will give the biggest, mouth wide open smile as soon as I say her name and she sees me. The fact that my job consists of, at it’s core, roasting and drinking coffee. The amount of support we have in our community and the amazing amount of support we have from our family. I have a mother-in-law who I can not only tolerate, I don’t mind being around her for longer than 15 minutes and that is more than I can say for most of the people I see on a day-to-day basis. My mother and Step-father who constantly go out of their way to help us in any way we need even if it means they miss out on things they have had planned (but not quite as severe as cancelling a relaxing cruise to make a trip to Taiwan just so they can see their grandchildren…).  And, I have the time and ability to sit back and play these thoughts in my head and that I should be eternally grateful for!

After pondering on all of this for about 5 minutes, I realize, I’m drinking The Acutec Blend. It was a small amount of beans left over from yesterdays roast and packaging before I delivered. Time to get to work. My three favorite things;

Put on some music, brew some coffee, handle my business! Life is good!

 

Roasting, tasting, roasting and…tasting.

I recently had the opportunity to sample some Thailand Phu Tub Berk. Being from my favorite origin area (India and friends) as soon as I saw this was “Afloat” (meaning that it had not reached the United States Importer but, was up for grabs) I jumped on it. Coffees from this area have a distinct creaminess and spiced notes. The further east you go, heading into Myanmar (Burma) and just beyond, you start getting more cocoa, earthy tones. Thailand, being located just south of Myanmar, gave me high hopes for a great cup of coffee with a great earthiness and spiced cocoa notes.

After test roasting this, I was left unimpressed. Dark roasting was way to bold and bitter on the edge of ashy. The light roast was grossly thin and so bright, it was like drinking a lemonade spiked with coffee (and not in a good way!). The medium roast had promise but, not enough to get me really excited to try roasting the last of my sample but, after lunch I found myself wondering about slowing the roast way down and bringing it into a medium roast like an arthritic tortoise rushing to a root canal.

The result from running this as a slower roasted medium roast was as follows;

The first thing I noticed was the creamy, thick body and the fullness of the mouthfeel. Immediately after that, it showed off with dry cocoa finish that coats the tongue in a pleasant manner. As you get deeper into the cup you pick up a natural sweetness combined with a savory tone like a dried apricot. The spice is not as strong with this coffee as I had hoped but, it is there, just very faint. I am considering roasting a regional blend if I purchase a bag of this.

The problem I run into with this coffee is this: I want to order a full bag simply because, who in my area is roasting Thailand!? This comes from a coffee region I have never had any problems with my customers enjoying and again, THAILAND! The name alone is going to garner some interest with my friendly neighborhood coffee snobs.

This is a really good cup of coffee. Is it great? No. I cannot say it is. Do I want to offer anything less than greatness to my customers? I do with regularity simply because there are coffees that my customers really enjoy that I just don’t enjoy as much as they do. Coffee tastes vary just as much as tasting notes from origins around Lake Kivu! Are there going to be a good number of people who love this coffee? Yes, and Tonya is one of them. Am I justifying purchasing a bag of coffee that I really don’t need but really want due to the childlike wonder I experience with any unique coffee? You bet your ass I am! That doesn’t mean I would be wrong to order a bag, I just need a few outside opinions.

So with that, I am going to hit the road and see what opinions I can find from my trusted coffee circle.

 

Put on some music, brew some coffee and handle your business!

Love,

MichaelBlogging

“Coming of Age”

The other day, while chatting with a customer about our “SodaSpresso” drinks that have taken off quite nicely, we began talking about coffee and alcohol. Not your standard Jameson & Coffee or Bailey’s and Coffee, no, we were looking for something more…sophisticated if you will. And that got me to thinking. Despite some of the odd ideas we did shoot back and forth, one stuck out to me. Coffee and Gin. I have heard of them before, called the Turbo G&T, but, I had a thought and fate was on my side! Our local brewery (you may have heard of it, VooDoo Brewery) placed for sale, multiple used aging barrels and one of the listings was for some used Gin barrels! Boom! Perfection!

After a little more thinking and the odd question to random customers, my brain child is this; I ordered a bag of Honduras Marcala Community Coffees and a bag of dried juniper berries with the intent to toast the juniper berries and age them in the gin barrel mixed among the green coffee beans. This will allow the coffee beans to soak up not only the essence left deep within the barrel’s wood but also the flavor from the toasted juniper berries creating a zesty juniper and gin aged coffee to create a great Barrel Aged Turbo G&T! In 3 months, I will pull some beans out and test them and if they are not ready, I will allow them to sit for another 3 months before testing again. Once they are ready to be roasted, I will be creating a cold brew to really give the Barrel Aged Honduran Turbo G&T a go and I hope that some of you will join me at The Roastery at Avtex for a night cap when that time comes.

 

Until then, stay caffeinated,

Michael